Information for Family and Friends

Some suggestions that may assist are set out below. Each process can take any real time - depending on any individual and situation. These being suggestions only - it is up to anyone to make their own choices at their own time and pace.
**Concerned individuals should always seek professional advice in their area when necessary. Try the links on the left to find possible available help.

Recognising the problem and what can be done about it

As a partner, a family member or a friend you would have most likely found it
hard to spot the signs of problem gambling which the person close to you may have. This is a secretive addiction and it's not as easy to see as you would with alcohol, drugs or other substance abuse. Some of the major signs one can start
to follow are shown on the right hand side of this page. Once it is recognised though, it could come as a complete shock. You may have noticed that
something was not right and even suspected some trouble, but couldn't bear
the thought that there actually is a real problem. When being faced with this situation, it's best to deal with gambling itself and the problems it has created, rather than concentrating heavily on the gambler's personality. As with any addiction, there is a reason why this problem began and what progressed it,
and that is usually where the answer lies. Gam-Anon groups and/or counselling
are an effective way to start. These places would have knowledge, experience
and support you need to give you some idea of how to approach this dilemma.

Dealing with finances, anger, resentment and confusion

Once you have found out that someone close to you has a gambling problem,
many things will come to the surface. Finances, secrets and lies are just some. This is the time to bring everything to some clarity and your support is what
can bring this out of the gambler. Firstly however, you would need to get to
grips with all the possible anger, resentment and confusion. This may take a
little time with third party support, but in the meantime honest communication
is something that needs to be restored. Keep in mind that gamblers already
know all the wrongs they are doing, but don't even know themselves how to
deal with it. When recovery starts for them, yours will as well. As a partner,
you would want to start restoring security for you and the family, especially
with the finances. This is where a financial counsellor can help. Somehow, a
way needs to be found where by mutual agreement the gambler co-operates. If there is still a team between you, than this teamwork, together with some
positive boundaries and support will successfully manage a healthy recovery.

Strategies for how to deal with the behaviour of a gambler

The best strategy for coping with the behaviour of a problem gambler is to understand the problem itself. Since this is becoming a fast growing addiction
all around the world, there would be research done into it. Much can be
gained from material available on the subject through books, counsellors or the internet and by speaking to other problem gamblers in recovery and their
partners at support groups. As a partner or a family member, don't start immediately blaming yourself for this situation. Gamblers chose to gamble when
it was still a social entertainment for them, which than progressed into a
problem. Something made it advance to the stage of addiction. Gambling simply became an escape from some other problems which the gambler most likely cannot deal with. For both of your lives to get back to some normality, find out what the real causes behind it are. If it's difficult at the start, allow the
gambler to come to terms with it via support groups and counselling first, but
at the same time ask for assurances, financial accountability and honesty.

Giving support to someone that has a gambling problem

For a problem gambler to give up gambling, he or she will need a lot of support
to get through the vital stages of recovery and than to continue on with life.
As a partner or a family member there are some pointers that may help you
with this. Firstly, remember that you are not alone and that this happens to
many families. Know that gamblers have to fight through this and that recovery just doesn't happen overnight. Communicate the problem constructively, but at the same time don't easily give in to the gamblers demands. Use a third party mediator if necessary. Leave the solving of the problem in gamblers hands and
let them know that you are supporting them through it. Don't play the blame
game if you can avoid it, as this can easily send the gambler back to gambling, however, do develop some firm and constructive boundaries. Don't trust them
with cash until such time when you can be assured that it is alright to do so. Money in hand is the biggest trigger for gamblers which could easily lead to a
lapse in recovery. Manageable recovery is possible and support is also vital.

To get some understanding of a recovery process for problem gamblers: START HERE

All material not linked to any other site - © Problem Gambling Guide